Useful Bible Studies > Ecclesiastes Commentary > chapter 4

The power of wealthy people

Ecclesiastes 4:1-3

You may be rich and powerful. In fact, you may be so powerful that you can force other people to obey your orders. Perhaps many people work hard for your pleasure or for your profit.

But there is one important fact that you need to know. The day is coming when you will lose your power. You will lose it suddenly, in a moment of time. And it may happen soon.

Your power, like your wealth, belongs only to this world. Elsewhere, in heaven and hell alike, strong people do not control weaker people (Job 3:18-19). In hell as in heaven, everyone recognises Godís power and authority (Philippians 2:10).

On the day when you lose your power, you will also lose all your wealth. When God is your judge, you cannot pay him to be kind to you. All his judgements are right and proper (Ecclesiastes 3:17).

It seems a strange statement that death is better than life (Ecclesiastes 4:2). But after death, God is our judge, and all his judgements are right. That is better than this world, where judgements are often wicked (Ecclesiastes 3:16).

It seems even stranger to say that it is better never to live (Ecclesiastes 4:3). The author says that in order to emphasise how terrible peopleís cruelty can be in this world. It would be better if we never had to see such cruelty. The author wanted his readers to know that God hates this cruel behaviour. The Bible constantly explains that fact - see Isaiah 1:21-26; Micah 3:8-12; James 5:1-6. The modern idea that God does not punish even cruel and wicked deeds is completely untrue.

Next part: Jealous and lazy attitudes (Ecclesiastes 4:4-6)

 

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© 2014, Keith Simons.